Great Minds Play Alike: Simon Sinek & the Power of Play

    Apr 1, 2021 9:15:00 AM / by Phil Davidson

    Phil Davidson

    Our team has always rallied around the power of play. A part of this philosophy is constantly improving and learning. We gobble up books and talks on leadership, creativity, and tech. Continually consuming new ideas and ideologies grows our abilities. We’ve always enjoyed Simon Sinek and his emphasis on the importance of “why.” So when we stumbled upon Simon Sinek’s ideas on the value of play, we were gobsmacked. 

    We had long followed this proficient thinker for his Golden Circle methodology. Now, here he was waxing wise words about play and its importance. Sign us up! His thinking aligned extremely well with aspects of ours. Mr. Sinek shone a light on the benefit of play to businesses. When you’re running something because you’re passionate about it versus wanting to “win” big and earn money, you’ll be set up for better success. Here’s the full video if you’re interested. 

    https://www.linkedin.com/posts/simon-sinek_a-new-way-of-thinking-about-business-activity-6743335451496591360-EESV

    “Business is play...it’s a creative process, it’s an ongoing process of building and changing and adapting and adding some color and moving things around.”

    This video does a really great job of summing up our views on running a business. It also highlights the importance of a strong brand. When you have a “why” that people can rally around, you have a business that can last. A strong brand keeps playing because even when employees change and audiences change, the reason the business or organization exists does not. It keeps moving forward. You find ways to improve the product or service. Even if the game changes, you keep playing and adapting. The brand lives on. 

    A great example of this is Kodak vs. Johnson & Johnson. Both started a year apart in the 1880s. Only one is relevant now. Why? Because they knew their why and embraced it.

    Kodak was the leader in photography throughout the 20th century, but then made a fatal move. They latched their wagon to film, not saving memories. When one of Kodak’s employees invented the first digital camera, they didn’t try to evolve it. Instead, they shoved it under the rug and kept leaning into film. This backfired down the line when the whole photography industry revolutionized. Film became irrelevant and so did Kodak.

    Johnson & Johnson, on the other hand, knows its purpose is about something bigger than a single product. Their why is probably something close to “create a healthier, better world.” This emphasis has led the company to be a gamechanger on the world stage. To this day, it continues to live up to this promise in a myriad of ways, including its vaccine for COVID-19. 

    Interested in learning more about the importance of your “why.” Simon Sinek dives into its importance in his Golden Circle discussion. 

     

     

     

    As we dug deeper into Simon Sinek, we started reading his book, The Infinite Game

    It struck a chord and played well with our existing ideas. He describes how there are finite and infinite games. In finite, there are set rules and goals. Think of any sport: baseball, basketball, football. Meanwhile, infinite is all about playing better and perpetuating the game. This mindset not only improves your work tenfold each time, but it also makes your mission different. When you’re trying to beat your previous best, you bring your best to every project, every time. Sinek has done many talks on this topic, but here’s one of our favs. 

     

     

    There are lots of quotable moments in that 5 minutes. Here’s the one we come back to again and again: 

    “Finite players play to beat the people around them. Infinite players play to be better than themselves.” 

    This really matches our outlook on our work. Our best work is always before us. We want to learn from our competitors and earn new clients, but we don’t want other creative shops to fail. We’re all just businesses doing our best to succeed. We’re here to keep producing our best work and helping our clients grow. 

    A great recent example of this is Apple and Intel. Apple dropped Intel’s processors from its new line of Macs. Intel then went all-in on an anti-Apple campaign that did the brand no favors. If anything, it garnered more positive Apple sentiment and made Intel seem weak and desperate. 

    Just sift through the comment section of this ad to see what we mean. 

     

     

    The big takeaway is to treat competitors as learning opportunities, not rivals. When you make it you vs them instead of owning your unique why you hold yourself back. 

    But back to Simon Sinek. All in all, it’s fun to see where our ideas crisscross with thought leaders we admire. Our why is to make the creative process feel like play. Play here meaning a multitude of things, from making the experience enjoyable for all involved to experimenting and trying new things to always playing to beat ourselves. 

    If you’re interested in learning more about this philosophy or how we can help your business or organization with marketing or website development, give us a holler.

    Topics: Power of Play, Culture

    Phil Davidson

    Written by Phil Davidson

    I love my work because it’s been anything but boring. From providing design for an international seafood company, to creating work for a Big 12 University, I’ve had the chance to work in a variety of different industries and settings. My career has also granted me once-in-a-lifetime experiences, like watching a brain surgery and starting a beer soap company (don’t ask). But the best part? Having the opportunity to meet and work with countless creative minds over the past 17 years.

    Subscribe to Email Updates